The future of the Focus RS nameplate seemingly hangs in the balance as Ford’s engineering team reportedly searches for a “solution” to keep the flagship performance model alive.

According to Autocar, the Blue Oval brand is attempting to develop a full-hybrid powertrain that won’t negatively impact the firm’s average fleet CO2 emissions figure, which will be capped at 95 g/km under the new EU regulations.

“We are waiting for our engineering team to come up with a solution on the powertrain and that is not easy given the new fleet CO2 regulations,” an unnamed senior Ford executive told the UK-based publication.

The source added the implementation of a mild-hybrid powertrain would not present sufficient CO2 savings, forcing the firm to search for a full-hybrid solution. The subsequent delay, said Autocar, would push the launch of the new all-paw, RS-badged Focus to as late as 2022 or 2023, if it makes it to production at all.

“The story of all the previous RS [models] is of the engineers working on the project in their spare time and weekends and coming up with the ideas and concept. On the new one, we’re still waiting for the right concept, especially on the powertrain,” the source added.

The publication claimed Ford was using its 2,5-litre petrol-hybrid powertrain (as employed by the latest Kuga in Europe) as a base, attempting to both extract more oomph and cut weight.

Of course, the previous-generation Focus RS hot hatch was removed from Ford SA's pricelist in November 2018, with production having ceased in Germany in April of that year. And in July 2019, the Blue Oval brand's local arm told CARmag.co.za it had "no current plans" to bring in the new, fourth-generation Focus hatchback...